While attending a function yesterday at the KTM headquarters in Murrieta, California, we bumped into Red Bull KTM team manager Ian Harrison. While a lot of attention is on Cooper Webb as he seeks his second Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, there have been some rumblings of a familiar face joining the team to race the upcoming Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. With that in mind, we had to ask Harrison what the scoop is and here’s what he had to say.
By the way, look for more info from yesterday’s event at the KTM HQ in a few days.
Racer X: Can you tell me a little bit about a rumor going around about a second rider on the 250 team for outdoors, perhaps?
Ian Harrison: Yeah, it looks like Kailub Russell will be Max Vohland’s teammate for the nationals. We’re excited about that. John [Hinz, KTM North America President] was also really happy about that. Kailub has eight [GNCC] titles, he’s been an awesome ambassador for our sport. This was a goal of his, this was a dream of his, and now it’s coming true.
He obviously had retired [from GNCC] and had interest in racing nationals, so did he come to you guys and say, “Could we work out a program?” or did it just kind of fall into place where he’s with the KTM group, obviously wants to race nationals, and it was just a nice fit?
Pretty much like that, yeah. He was with the KTM group, he talked to his team manager Anti [Kallonen] about racing the nationals. They came and talked to us and we’re like, “Hey, it’s 12 rounds,” and John said, “Hey, this guy has been so special to our company, he’s done so much for us, it would be awesome to give back.” So that’s what we ended up doing and we’ll see how it goes! It’s going to be exciting!
Obviously Max Vohland’s still coming off of injury. Will he be ready for outdoors?
Yes, he’s riding already. He was back on about three weeks ago actually, so he healed up really quick. When they’re young, they’re like that with healing. But yeah, he’s riding well. He was testing today at Glen Helen, and we’re excited for him to get going and see what he can do. We don’t want to load him too much with pressure, he’s still super young, and just see how that transpires.
So, the plan is, no Salt Lake City, just straight to outdoors.
I think so, yeah. I think that will be the best.
With Kailub Russell set to join the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing program alongside Max Vohland, it will be Russell’s second time dabbling into Pro Motocross but the first time he will race a 250F competitively in the USA since 2010 when he won the XC2 Pro Lite GNCC championship. Russell has since raced a 250F in the ISDE, however.
As for Vohland, it appears he will not return to supercross for 2021 and instead has turned all of his focus to being fully prepared for the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. The series starts on May 29 at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.
Images: Mack Faint